Eagan High School graduate Ahsim Ahmed may have been traveling at speeds in excess of 100 mph moments before a fatal accident that claimed his life and the life of Eagan resident and hockey coach Kelly Kristiansen, according to a recently completed police investigation.
Expert analysis and eyewitness accounts point to Ahmed's speed and erratic driving as the causes of the fatal accident, which .
Witnesses interviewed by police saw Ahmed's vehicle drive off the roadway, strike a traffic sign, cross the median and narrowly miss hitting another car before finally colliding head-on with the vehicle drove by Kristiansen. Kristiansen, who was driving eastbound on Diffley, was traveling at or near the posted speed limit of 45 mph, according to a police investigation.
Both Ahmed and Kristiansen were pronounced dead at the scene. Their vehicles sustained severe damage, and Ahmed's vehicle was engulfed in flames following the crash. Following the accident, the Minnesota State Patrol conducted a crash reconstruction, while Eagan police requested phone records for both drivers.
Witnesses also told police that Ahmed—a former member of the EHS speech and debate team—appeared to be asleep at the wheel. After speaking with family members and reviewing the teen's medical history, police learned that Ahmed had received medical attention for an undiagnosed fainting condition.
Neither driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the accident, according to autopsy results. Nor did either vehicle suffer from a mechanical issue that would have caused the crash, investigators say. Phone records show that Ahmed also ended a cell phone call moments before the crash, but police do not believe the call contributed to the accident.
"Although it cannot be determined with absolute certainty why the crash occurred, eyewitness accounts of Mr. Ahmed’s dangerous driving along with his medical history indicate he may have been unconscious at the time of the accident," police officials said in a press release issued by the Eagan Police Department.
In the press release, police also thanked the bystanders who stopped at the accident scene to offer assistance to police and fire personnel.
"Also, those who were able to provide eyewitness accounts that enabled investigators to piece together the events is [sic] appreciated not only by police personnel, but by the families who were left wondering how this tragedy occurred," the press release said.
Eagan Police Chief Jim McDonald said the fatal crash, which left a community in mourning, was without parallel in his more than 20 years experience in Eagan. In the wake of the crash, McDonald said, emergency responders at the scene were required to meet with a chaplain for counseling.
"I don't recall, since like 1989, where we've had a fatality involving two people on a local street," McDonald said. "This was just a horrific event, it’s just a stark reminder of how tragic this can be, and how a tragedy an happen in a fraction of a second. Our regards go out to the families."